I-9 Updates: Increased Security and Workplace Raids

Have you filled out I-9 forms correctly for all of your employees?

Now would be the best time to ensure you have all forms correctly completed and filed, in order to avoid running into any issues with the Department of Homeland Security.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has declared a commitment to increasing its work site audits by 400%. The Deputy Director of ICE, Tom Homan, mentions the following in a report from CNN Money, “We’re not just talking about arresting the aliens at these work sites, we are also talking about employers who knowingly hire people who are unauthorized to work.” Mr. Homan makes it very clear that, under the new administration, the consequences of employing undocumented workers will increase.

As such, it is recommended that employers update their I-9 records to ensure that all information is up to date and properly filed. If information on any I-9 form in a company’s record is found to be incorrect, the government would have reason to get further involved and impose fines on the employers. [Read More]
Most recently, ICE agents raided nearly a hundred 7-Eleven convenience stores throughout the nation, leading to the ultimate arrest of 21 people. As the current administration begins to show its commitment to curtailing undocumented migration, it has become clear that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its agencies such as ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS), will once more prioritize their efforts towards ensuring that migrant workers in the United States have the necessary documentation to legally work. In order to do so, they will increase the occurrence of I-9 audits at the workplace, targeting both small and large-scale employers.

This is not the first time that DHS has increased on-site investigations, with news being reminiscent of the Bush-era of increased immigration raids year-over-year. However, as E-verify has now long been an established requirement for some employers, DHS and ICE have made it clear that they will no longer only target undocumented workers, but that their employers would also face the consequences of violating federal law. A concern that arises for all employers, even those who do not employ undocumented workers, is that having incorrectly filled out I-9 forms could pose a threat to the business. As such, we recommend that employers organize and check their employees’ I-9 forms. It is also recommended that employers seek legal help in reviewing their I-9 forms, to ensure that they are in compliance well before their company or organization is ever audited.

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